April 28, 2017

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After a bunch of just okay books over the past few months, I decided to read a classic, a book that a friend recommended to me, and, of course, the book for our online book club, Beyond Words. I had a great month of reading!

finding ithaka book reviews (1 of 1)

1. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

“Gradually, without my noticing, my grief has changed shape; from a raw, jagged pain that won’t be silenced to a dull, rounded ache I’m able to lock away at the back of my mind.” – Clare Mackintosh, I Let You Go

The biggest things about this book, the things I really want to talk about, are spoilers! So I will do my best to talk about the book without giving anything away.

I didn’t know too much about this book when I voted for it for our Beyond Words Book Club, but I voted for it anyway because I was in the mood for a mystery. And as a mystery, this book did not disappoint. It is well-written, with lots of twists and turns and plenty of things that will make you say, “what the heck just happened? Did I just read that right?” The first 100 pages or so kinda bored me, but something told me to stick with it and I’m glad I did. The fist 100 pages could have been reduced to 50, but I got through it.

I was waiting for some kind of plot twist, so when the big twist came, I was ready for it but still confused and surprised. I ended up staying up until 1 am to finish because I just couldn’t put it down. I usually go to bed by 9.

I feel like every thriller ever written from now on will be compared to Gone Girl, and I have to say, that if you are looking for a book that will satisfy that kind of book craving and surprise you the way Gone Girl did, this book is for you. It’s also disturbing and slightly terrifying. This might be a spoiler, but I don’t care: I feel like I should also say that this book could be very triggering for some who have been in an abusive relationship. There are violent descriptions and really messed up things that happen.

This might be a spoiler, but I don’t care: I feel like I should also say that this book could be very triggering for some who have been in an abusive relationship. There are violent descriptions and really messed up things that happen.

I felt like some of the twists weren’t totally necessary or weren’t totally believable. But I still enjoyed this book a lot and I would recommend it to anyone who likes thrillers. 4 stars.

4 stars.

If you are interested in joining the book club, click here! Basically, we all vote on a book and then we read it and talk about it on Goodreads. It’s super low key. In May, we are reading The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. We are voting on our June book this weekend, so join now to get your vote in!

2. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich

“How quickly someone else’s life can enter through the cracks we don’t know are there until this foreign thing is inside of us. We are more porous than we know.” – Emily Ruskovich, Idaho

Idaho is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. I found myself re-reading entire chapters becuase I couldn't belive how beautiful it was.

Although the chapters jump across and between decades, we begin the book by learing that Jenny has murdered her daughter, May. Immediatly after, before he could get the police to arrive, her husband, Wade, hid his other daughter, June, in the woods so that Jenny would not be able to harm her. Years later, Jenny is in prison. The search is still on for June.

Now Jenny is in prison and Wade is married to Ann, who every day tries to piece together the pieces of his old life and figure out where she belongs in Wade’s world. As Wade’s Alzheimer’s disease begins to worsen, he becomes increasingly confused and sometimes even violent, but the sense of loss always stays with him. Throughout the novel, we get glimpses into the little girls growing up, into Jenny and Wade as newlyweds,  into Jenny’s life in prison, and more characters you will meet along the way.

The language in this book is so beautiful that I urge you to pick it up just to savor Ruskovich’s words. But more than that, this book is a powerful testimony to the power of bonds between sisters, between females. It is about violence and loss and memory and love and forgiveness.

There are also many things in the book that are not fully explained or answered. In another novel, this might bother me, but I think that it is an important part of the story that Ruskovich tells. Some things are better left in a novel unspoken. Good authors leave important questions unanswered, forcing you to decide on for yourself. Is it better to remember or to forget? Can a woman who murdered her child ever find peace?

5 stars.

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them—if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”  – J.D. Salinger, The Cather in the Rye

I was supposed to read this book in high school, but I never did. I never really read any of the books I was supposed to read in high school. It wasn’t until the past few years that I got back into reading, so I have to make up for lost time.

Holden Caulfield is a name I’ve known forever, but it wasn’t until this month that I got to know him. When he gets kicked out of yet another school, Holden doesn’t want to go home. So he leaves school early and goes to New York City. The book takes place during these days and it’s all about this adventure in New York City.

I was looking at Goodreads and, of course, many of my friends have read The Catcher in the Rye. It was interesting to see the divide – my friends either gave this book one star or four or five stars. I guess you either see Holden as an insufferable, repetitive, immature kid, or you find him to be perceptive and you can relate to him. I am in the latter camp. What about you?

5 stars.

What are you reading right now?

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11 responses to “What I read in April”

  1. Carly says:

    I loved your review of Idaho, when I first heard about it I went back and forth on whether or not I wanted to add it to my TBR list because I wasn’t sure if I would like it or if it would be really sad (which I tend to try and avoid), but now I definitely want to look into reading it again. So fun to read Catcher in the Rye for the first time! I haven’t read it since high school and would like to reread it eventually. I think I gave it 4 or 5 stars- it’s always so fun/interesting to see how friends on GR rate books!

  2. Jenn says:

    I have both I Let You Go an Idaho on hold on the online library and I am not so patiently awaiting my turn for them! Can’t wait to read them!

  3. Idaho sounds like a really interesting read, and something that I don’t know if I would have ever heard about it, except for your review. I’m definitely adding it to my list! And I totally agree with you about I Let You Go and the beginning. I don’t understand why it took so long for her to setup the story, but once it got going, I couldn’t put it down either! And I’m glad that you mentioned the abusive relationship, I don’t think that it’s that much of a spoiler. There were some pretty graphic descriptions in the book that I totally wasn’t expecting. I’m so glad that we chose I Let You Go as our book for this month, and I can’t wait to read The Wrath & The Dawn!

  4. Audrey says:

    I’m a member of the group on GoodReads but I haven’t read anything yet. I’m hoping to participate in May!
    Idaho sounds super interesting. I’m adding it to my list now!
    I’ve never read The Catcher in the Rye, but it’s been on my list forever.

  5. Amanda says:

    I Let You Go was so creative, I thought and really good! Although I agree, some of the twists didn’t seem believable. I read Catcher in the Rye so long ago and remember liking it, but I should read it again and see what I think!

  6. Rachel G says:

    I actually haven’t read The Catcher in the Rye–which is pretty odd, because I’ve read basically all of those books you’re “supposed” to have read in your school years! Most of them are pretty good, although there’s a few that I wonder why they stay on the curriculum for so long…

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I’m definitely going to add Idaho to my reading list!. I’ve also never read Catcher in the Rye in full so I might have to add that one too. 🙂

  8. I love Catcher in the Rye! Haven’t read it since HS (I read it when I was supposed to – haha!!) so I should read it again soon.

    I love Gone Girl and I Let You Go has been on my list so I’m more excited now to read it.

  9. Sarah says:

    That quote from Idaho is gorgeous. I’m putting it on my list!

  10. Julie says:

    Your description of Idaho has grabbed me and will be looking to read it next… And I Let You Go! I loved Catcher in the Rye, definitely need to re-read it now as it has been a lifetime since I’ve read it. I recently read Six Four by a Japanese author and that was really good.

  11. I’ve got I Let You Go on my list! I’ll let you know when I finish it so we can discuss!!

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